But there are also important negative consequences of Heat Inactivating serum when there is no requirement to do so. Heat Inactivation not only inactivates serum complement, but it can destroy small peptides, hormones, vitamins and other components in serum that are beneficial to cell growth.
The correct procedure for proper Heat Inactivation of serum is fastidious one, and is very often not understood or followed in the lab setting. Small deviations in either the temperature or the time at temperature will significantly reduce serum growth performance and increase precipitate formation in the serum.
Wasted technician time, and/or the risk of the loss of an improperly treated bottle of serum are additional factors that should be kept in mind when choosing to Heat Inactivate serum in the lab.
If it is determined that Heat Inactivation is necessary, the researcher is better advised to have the serum manufacturer perform the procedure, as a set protocol is in place and all bottles would be treated equally at the same time.
See “Should I Heat Inactivate my Serum?” for additional information, and a protocol for Heat Inactivation.